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August/September 2002Vol. 3, No. 7New Guide Offers Assistance in Developing Tribal Court CASA Programs

Tribal communities wanting to create Tribal Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs now have a resource to guide them through the many steps to develop and manage effective programs tailored to their needs. The National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (National CASA) began the Tribal Court CASA Project in 1994 to support programs where volunteers act as advocates for abused or neglected American Indian and Alaska Native children. National CASA partnered with the Tribal Law and Policy Institute to offer training and technical assistance to support the Tribal Court CASA Project. From this partnership, the Tribal Court CASA: A Guide to Program Development (the Guide) was published to lead tribal communities through each step of planning and operating a Tribal Court CASA program.

Sections and specific chapters of the Guide provide information on:

  • Assessing the community's problems with child abuse and neglect and its response, including how well the child welfare systems and judicial systems work together.
  • Recruiting volunteers from the tribal community, outlining the training process, and explaining important aspects of managing and retaining volunteers.
  • Setting up a financial system that complies with generally accepted accounting principles.
  • Minimizing risks--particularly liability of the individual volunteer, liability of the organization to the volunteer, and liability of the organization because of the actions of volunteers--and considerations in purchasing liability insurance.
  • Using formal rules and procedures to support program operations, such as a manual of policies and procedures, confidentiality and personnel policies, and procedures for handling complaints.

Information about the Tribal Court CASA, including a PDF version of the Guide, can be found at

Supporting materials, including a free video on the development of Tribal Court CASA programs and ordering free printed copies of the Guide, that explain the history of CASA and its effect in tribal communities can be obtained by contacting:

Becca Calhoun
Tribal Court Program Specialist
National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association
100 W. Harrison, North Tower, Suite 500
Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: 206-270-0072, ext. 25 or 800-628-3233
Fax: 206-270-0078